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Crores of rupees stolen from ATMs; how safe is money in banks?

The misery of the Indian banking sector is not limited to the banks as even ATMs are not immune to incidents of theft and loot. Around Rs 54 crore has already been lost in ATMs, in-branch or in-transit phase for scheduled commercial banks and a few financial institutions (FIs) in the current fiscal year till […]

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The misery of the Indian banking sector is not limited to the banks as even ATMs are not immune to incidents of theft and loot. Around Rs 54 crore has already been lost in ATMs, in-branch or in-transit phase for scheduled commercial banks and a few financial institutions (FIs) in the current fiscal year till December 2019. “This includes incidents such as burglary, dacoit, robbery, and theft,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a reply to a question in Lok Sabha. Rs 54 crore is lost in 1092 such cases across the country. In the last three years, these incidents are on a rise. In FY18, Rs 44.25 crore was lost in 927 incidents of burglary, dacoit, robbery and theft, while in FY19, Rs 68.45 crore was lost in 1302 such incidents.

To put a brake on such incidents leading to losses of banks, the RBI has last year issues a circular in the month of June that was directed towards the security measures for ATMs. In the instruction, it was mentioned that all ATMs are to be operated for cash replenishment only with digital One Time Combination (OTC) locks and all ATMs are to be grouted to a structure such as a wall, pillar, floor, etc, except for ATMs installed in highly secured premises such as airports, etc, which have adequate CCTV coverage and are guarded. by state or central security personnel.

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The circular also said that the banks are to roll out a comprehensive e-surveillance mechanism at the ATMs to ensure timely alerts and quick response. Meanwhile, the RBI has also advised banks to take other steps to enhance safety and security at ATMs, which includes a facility to switch on or off and set or modify transaction limits for all types of transactions, and raising alerts through SMS or e-mail, whenever there is any change in the status of the card.

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